Category Archives: Mason CIty

Downright Pathetic

Downright PatheticWhat a change in weather!  I was hoping Mother Nature would’ve eased us into Winter a little more soulfully considering how warm it was yesterday, but it appeared not the case when finding today being beastly cold, and made worse by that north wind blowing so hard.

When I walked over early this morning to the Courthouse which is only one block from my office, I was half frozen by the time I got there.  Just as I was leaving, there stood a gentleman handing me my “I Voted” sticker.  He mentioned I happened to be the second voter to arrive.  I couldn’t help but say, “So I don’t get my trophy for at least participating?”  I guess the others in the room found my remark funny enough to laugh.  I would surmise they’ve also been in situations where everyone wants to be a winner.

Believe it or not, I sold another home today to some long-term clients.  I’m exceptionally happy for them because I know by the time they’re finished with it, it’ll be one more grand home that’s been saved from the long arms and deep pockets of our rental barons. After it closes, I’ll have to make sure to stop by once in a while to see their progress along with sharing a few helpful suggestions.  The flow of its floor plan was well thought-out when it was designed a 100+ years ago.

Speaking of older homes, one of my customers stopped by for a chat this afternoon, and we somehow ended up on the subject of older versus newer homes.  I guess he’s definitely in the crowd of preferring the older ones.  He went on to talk about how nearly everything you buy at Menards now is either fabricated materials that are made to look like real wood, or plastic that is supposed to appear to be the real thing.

Being on the subject of wood, I went on to share with him some of the old ways of finish carpentry.  Did you know that those seasoned and highly sought after carpenters would actually hand select each piece of lumber that was to be used in custom homes they were building from the ground up?  Some would pick thru large piles of hardwoods that were to be used for those gorgeous built-ins, staircases, and mouldings just so to help create balance in grain and color. He actually didn’t realize there was that much care given when choosing components of those turn-of-the-century homes.  I laughed and said, “Now you understand why they’re still standing because they were built to last for generations.”

After reading an article recently written by one the Globe-Gazette staffers, I’ve come to the unfortunate conclusion that nearly every person that’s writing articles for our area news sources have all been bitten by the same monkey.  There nearly always has to be some negative inference that’s being made about someone using weak facts so to “hook” their readers into being pulled down dark paths of thought.  Most don’t pay that much attention to styles of reporting/writing, but if you really pay close enough attention, you’ll understand.

Just spend a little time comparing the reporting of our area journalists, and you’ll soon come to the conclusion that their articles border on tabloid trash of which I never waste my time reading.  Are the medias in our City hurting that bad for subscribers that they have to resort to the sensationalism of the tabloids so they can at least meet their payrolls along with keeping their light bills paid?  It’s beyond being sad to where it’s downright pathetic.

Sweeping Temperatures

Sweeping Temperatures-1There’s no question I was out of the office more than in today with it being the first of the month as well as a Monday.  At least I did get everything accomplished including having one of my listings sold.  Looks like December is going to be an active one.

One of my personal chores today was to go over to the bank and have some debit cards created for Christmas gifts I’ll be giving to a select few individuals who I believe are deserving.  I’d rather give money because unless you know exactly what someone wants, it turns into nothing but a crap shoot.

Since my mother’s passing over a year ago, I’m still not yet up to speed with holidays.  In these times, I’m perfectly happy with the “fly overs” I make when public celebrations arrive throughout the year.  I just find something else to do and call it just another day. Of course I’ll be sure to attend a Christmas Service at an area church.  It’s interesting how two deaths in a family can create rippling effects of change that reach out farther than one would’ve ever expected, but life must go on after realizing there’s not much else we can do other than move forward with the present while looking to our futures.

Tomorrow is the day our run-off elections take place for two vacating seats on our City Council.  I hope everyone has done as much research on those candidates as possible before going to the polls.  I have some mixed emotions along with “bad gut” feelings regarding several of them.  After doing some extra reading this past week, I’m now certain which one I’ll be voting for in my Ward tomorrow.  I smile while thinking about an old German saying which translates as, “New brooms sweep clean.”  But you know what we have when someone lights a match to a new broom?  You have a new broom creating a major fire hazard in the room.

These next days I’ll be sure to contact Travis Hickey for remaining steadfast with his beliefs during that special Council Meeting last Tuesday.  We need more people like him in our government who refuse to be swayed by loud-mouthed special interest groups. It was amazing how calm and collected he remained during those three grueling hours while most others were spinning and squirming.  Several days later someone said, “I’m so glad our City managed to dodge a bullet.”  I quickly replied, “In time, our citizens will realize it was more the size of a Scud Missile.”

Tonight was the second time I noticed a City bus driver not being more careful with his/her driving.  About a month ago, I noticed a female bus driver drive right thru that 4-way stop at the corner of S. Pierce and 6th St. SW.  Tonight, as I was waiting for the arrow light to turn green when at the corner of S. Monroe and Hwy 122 so I could turn left onto the highway, it turned green and while I was beginning to turn, another City bus started crossing the highway and heading north on S. Monroe.  I had to slam on my brakes so I wouldn’t turn into him/her.  I laid on my horn, but that bus continued to freely sail past me.  Don’t those drivers understand 4-way stop signs and green turning arrows?

I was actually happy to be outdoors most of our early afternoon.  Can you imagine it was 65 degrees at 2:00 pm today?  It felt like September returned for but a few hours.  Now look at it!  The temps have dropped about 30 degrees and the wind is picking up.  I’ll certainly remember this day as yet another example of how North Iowa can experience wide sweeping temperatures.  I can hear the wind howling all the more out there, so stay indoors where it’s warm and safe.

21 – 11th St. NE

21 – 11th St. NE-6Well, I managed to get thru the day without beating myself up too badly from my outdoor work today.  Thank goodness I had a two hour break with phone calls and an appointment to show one home.  At least I’ve finally got past a tediously long and daunting task, so now I can move forward with my little project without having to brace myself for another workout when I arrive there.

A Realtor brought in an offer on one of my listings, and hopefully we’ll be able to get it put together these next couple of days.  Seems the market is continuing to chug along even in this “between holidays” time frame.  I’d say our pleasant weather has something to do with it, but it looks like starting lateTuesday, the temps are going to drop down into the 20s and remain there.

The home I showed today brought back wonderful memories of times spent in one similar to it a number of years ago.  It was almost as if I was having de ja vu while inspecting each room and hallway.  Homes like it were built by monied people with more than a few children.  There were some modifications made to it likely in the 1930′s or 40′s by a previous owner who must’ve wanted to to look more like a new home that generation.  I’m certainly not a purist, but changes made to a home should aways be in sync with its original design and appeal.

I was in a home several weeks ago that possesses the most interesting floor plan.  At first look I thought, “What kind of cluster-funk is this?”, but after walking thru it several times, I realized that it must’ve been custom built by another family with money, and was likely personally supervising the contractor in every detail from start to finish.  Now where can you find a home that’s a combination of Cape Code, Prairie School, California Bungalow, and Four Square?  Well, I’d say that home has features of each one, yet they all esthetically fit comfortably together. I was wowed by its near 10ft. tall ceilings and hand tooled crown moulding. I’d wager there’s not another like it in all North Iowa.

This afternoon I was visiting with a client about all these letters and postcards that many of our City residents have been receiving from so-called “investors” wanting to buy homes they own sight unseen.  There’s no question in my mind they’re getting those addresses from Iowa’s Public Records along with the assistance of likely a computer algorithm that estimates the age of the owner by the number of years a given property has been owned.  Believe it or not, I actually received two of those postcards from one of them who knows I’m a Realtor.  He must’ve had someone else pull the names and addresses without looking at them before being mailed.  Why can’t people make money the old fashioned way by either working honestly for it, or inheriting it fairly and equitably?

My “spotlight” home tonight is being shined on 21 – 11th St. NE here in Mason City.  It’s truly a diamond in the rough, but oh does it have good bones.  I’m waiting for some industrious young person to buy it and transform it back to its original glory.  It would certainly be a win-win situation after it’s been brought back because it’ll not only make a great first home, but also an instant savings account when it comes time to sell it.  The above photo is of its kitchen that’s begging for someone to come sit in that charming breakfast nook.  Can’t you see the possibilities?

Moonlit December

Moonlit December-1Thinking it was going to be an instant 50 degree day, I ventured out of my office early this morning to do a little menial labor beyond my heated space.  Ouch!  After being out there for about 45 minutes, I thought my fingers would be frozen solid if I stayed out there but five minutes longer, so back in I went.  So much for instant an 50 degrees when it took past noontime to get there.

While out there working and feeling my fingers slowly freezing, I thought about Hell and how nearly everyone believes it to contain an unquenchable fire.  Of course yours truly believes the opposite.  For some reason or other, I personally believe Hell as we know it, to be a place of near pitch darkness where there’s a non-stop freezing cold which is the constant torment of those wicked souls who embraced the greatest evil of all–Fear.  For that reason only, they found the “essence” or “core” of their existence having been placed there after death.

Now keep in mind, I’ve told you all before that Fear is the Mother of all evil because from Fear sprouts all cardinal sins. While grabbing that door handle this morning so to get back inside with my icicle fingers, I felt like I was grabbing the door-latch of Hell’s gate.

My public open house at 122 – 11th St. SW this afternoon was a great success.  There were people coming and going nearly the entire time.  The things that impressed them the most was first off, it being located across the street from a public park, then its gorgeous near brand new custom oak kitchen, and lastly, the 3rd floor bedroom which could be used for many other purposes other than a place to sleep.  The big first floor laundry room with a half bath is also a great feature.  Be sure to keep an eye on this home because as far as I’m concerned, it’s a winner.

Since I didn’t have any appointments after my public open house, I drove to the gas station and got a fill-up and then headed out of town to a relatively far away church that I’ve grown to enjoy attending their services.   I arrived there a few minutes early which gave me time to quietly reflect while being surrounded by its beautiful, yet not overly decorated interior.  With the sun being so low in the sky, their stained glass windows were ablaze with color and form.  I’ve always believed really well designed stained glass windows give a church’s interior a greater feel of reverence and solemnity.

While looking at them and reflecting, I remembered an article about an elderly agnostic who on a weekly basis was discovered visiting a historic church in one of Europe’s crown cities.  The reporter asked, “Since you continually insist you’re an agnostic, why is it you go to a church on a weekly basis during their times of service?”  The old lady smiled and calmly said, “Even an agnostic appreciates beauty.  I go there to look at their beautiful windows, listen to their lovely music while continuing to marvel at their exquisite artwork.”  I guess she shut him down in a kind way for questioning her personal beliefs.

While driving back from their delightful Advent service, I happened to notice our near full moon rising.  It was one of the brightest I’ve seen in a long time.  Perhaps our atmosphere is more clear of “junk” particles which made for it to be exceptionally bright to where I actually had to pull down my visor so I could watch the road.  Compliments of those clear skies, there’ll be a moonlit December landscape tonight that’ll “wow” you.

Light Pollution

Light PollutionWasn’t it just the most absolutely beautiful day for the 1st of December?  I actually walked down to the closing office this morning without my winter coat, and it was just fine.  We’ve got November behind us, so now we can start whittling away at December.

The sale of mine that closed today just happened to be a building site which another agent had listed.  I promised the buyers that I would go out at place a sold sign on it after closing which they said I could leave standing for a week or two.

It was a wonderful drive over my lunch hour which afforded me time enough to absorb the stark beauty of North Iowa’s landscape before the snows arrive.  When I got there and climbed out of my vehicle, I got smacked by the full force of the wind.  Wow!  It was blowing so hard, I had to brace myself against it.  I got my sold sign up, and off I drove in yet another direction which brought me past another acreage that recently closed.

I’d seen the photos online, but never had any calls to show it since it sold right away.  I had to smile to myself when looking at that forty acre long row of arborvitaes which the previous owner spoke so highly about.  He was right, because there were at least a 100+ of them growing along that fence line.  I would’ve guessed them to be about 20 feet tall and having grown so thickly tight, they appeared to be more the likes of a giant’s hedgerow.  If I’m not mistaken, I believe he said he planted them about 30 years ago.

As far as I’m concerned, that treeline should be used as an inspiration for others to plant so to help protect their own fields against wind erosion. Believe it or not, I read an article about an area in Europe that does exactly the same thing with all their precious high-yielding soils.  When looking at the ariel map of that 40 acre plot, I could clearly see the difference those trees had made by the color of its soil.  His appeared much darker and likely richer.  Yes, we all must work at protecting our beginning sources of food which is our soils and water resources.  Food, water, and shelter have been our basics since we pathetic humans decided to jump from and stay out of the trees.

Please don’t forget about my public open house I’ll have open tomorrow afternoon at 122 – 11th St. SW here in Mason City.  It’s really a great home, and certainly befitting someone with children.  That large 3rd floor bedroom is a child’s delight in waiting because of it being big enough to serve as a playroom as well as bedroom.  Anyone into cooking will go ape over its new oak kitchen.  It looks like our weather is going to be pleasant tomorrow, so hopefully I’ll have a good number of visitors/prospective buyers.

Since it grows dark out later in the morning and earlier in the evening, I’ve been  noticing some lighted signs of late that are way beyond annoying while out after the sun sets.  I’m surprised there aren’t laws against having them so bright.  There are two of them that are especially noticeable, and the first and brightest is located near the corner of 1st NW and North Monroe.  The other that comes to mind is the one stationed in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church which is located at the corner of 1st NE and North Pennsylvania.

I understand they want to attract business as well as new congregants, but to have them so bright makes for noticeable distractions while driving.  I can only imagine what people must have to do with their bedroom windows that live near them. So, the next time you’re out after dark, drive by those two sites, and you’ll likely consider them over-bright lights as I do.  Oh, there’s another one way out west on Hwy 122 that must’ve been recently installed and being equally annoying.  Most don’t understand the concept of light pollution.

Hell-bent Ride

Hell-bent Ride-1Another soft landing took place today with one of my listings, and just before we finished up with it, the buyer announced to everyone how much she enjoyed working with me because of my being very kind and helpful during the whole process of her purchase.  I finally had to say, “Please. If you say anymore, I’m going to get teary-eyed.”  Of course I had to respond by saying how wonderful she was to work with, and that I’d certainly be staying in touch with her.

As chance would have it, I managed to get another one of my listings sold today to an absolutely wonderful couple.  They were a bit nervous about the whole purchasing process in the beginning, but I think now that their offer has been accepted, they’ll be finally getting a good night’s sleep after some recent half-sleepless nights.  Yes, buying a home is a big step and worthy of being a decision that’s not to be made lightly.

Early this morning I had to return a phone call that I dreaded because even though many of us would like to accommodate the wants and needs of others, there are rules in place which restrict us from freely fulfilling someone’s wishes.  I did my best to be as kind and gentle when communicating the bad news, so I’m hoping that person doesn’t think I was being personally punitive in any way, but rather following hard and fast rules that allow only rare exceptions.  I made sure to extend my best wishes for the Holidays.

Later this afternoon another Realtor brought an offer in on one of my listings I’ve been really wanting to have sold and closed.  I presented it to the seller and hopefully we’ll get it put together in the next day or two since we’re not that far apart on price.  If I were a young person looking for my first home, I’d be jumping on it in a New York second because of the upside potential it has for future value, while being a great place to call home without having a monster mortgage to service every month. Even though they’re working with another Realtor, I do hope they get it because I’m near certain it’ll work hard for them for many years.

For some reason, my phone was overly touchy today where I actually made two “butt” calls without knowing it.  Both times I got embarrassing return calls of which I had to apologize for having unknowingly made.  So much for our evolving smart phones which for some reason, seem to be developing minds of their own. Computers really are growing all the more scary whether we want to admit it or not.

While taking a moment to read the online news today, I was again disturbed when reading about another missile being sent into space by North Korea.  I’m beginning to wonder if their leader is suffering from a testosterone overload, along with the possibility of also being noticeably deranged.  These are dangerous times in which we live due to one looming fact; there’s a rogue nation on our planet in possession of nuclear weaponry.

Without question, today was an exceptionally productive day.  My utmost high was when I was able to get a few belly laughs out of several familiar stoics who were certainly in need of them.  Don’t you think everyone should take a moment or two out of their day just to listen or read about someone else’s comical real-life adventures?  The one I shared today was about my hell-bent ride on a horse.  Too funny!

Set into Motion

217 - 6th St. SW-7There’s no question I was a bit dopy today after watching all three hours of our City Council meeting late last night.  That was certainly a marathon of emotional roller-coasters.  I have to give credit where credit was due to our interim Administrator Kevin Jacobsen for keeping his cool and standing firm with the facts and not allow himself to be pulled into the morass of it all during that meeting.

I also had to give credit to Travis Hickey for sticking to the facts as well as keeping his calm.  Most don’t realize how close we came to having that whole Renaissance Mason City project pulled out of our reach had there been a tying vote.  Perhaps now everyone on both sides of the fight can reach out with olive branches and get back to work at getting things done. In all my years of selling real estate, I learned long ago that divisions in cities, companies, and families do nothing but create discord, hatred, and strife which in the end unravels and severs ties that helped to keep it all together. As Abraham Lincoln once said which he borrowed from one of St. Mark’s Gospels, “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”  Don’t you think we all should get over our indifferences, and together move forward with our lives?

I’m pretty much ready for tomorrow’s closing, and fortunately everyone seems to be on board and ready to have it closed.  That’ll be another buyer whom I’ll always remember with the kindest of thoughts.  For sure I’ll have to keep in touch because I appreciate people who are straight-forward and tell it like it is.  I think we all should work all the harder at getting ourselves as drama-free as possible.

While at an office today, I ran into a gentleman whom I sold a home to likely 30 years ago.  He was shocked that I remembered the address of his first home just out of college.  He’s moved a number of times since then, and somehow got pulled into the fold of another Realtor’s camp in spite of my having done a good job at the time. By the way, that happens to all of us.

He then asked, “How is it you remember when I arrived here to look at homes?”  I smiled and said, “The day I was showing you homes, the sun was shining and each time the sun would hit your green eyes, they appeared near luminescent, but I see now just as it happens with all of us, the weights of growing old, has taken away their youthful sparkle.”  He blushed a bit and said, “I inherited my mother’s green eyes.”, and a moment after, I retorted, “As well as I inherited my mother’s blue eyes.”  I’m sure he’s still wondering how in the world I remembered that particular sale so clearly.  I guess it’s just a sort of learned ability for me to recall times and situations.

With a little time to kill, I went down to Younkers to try and find a pair or two of dress slacks which I’m needing.  After my extended search, I came to the conclusion there are quite a few men living in North Iowa who wear my size because there was only but one pair of black still hanging.  Of course I don’t do black slacks so that was a very big waste of my time.

The owners of 217 – 6th St. SW stopped by my office and signed a price reduction.  It’s now reduced to the bargain price of $69,900.  I encourage anyone who’s got children and wanting more living space, to take a look at it.  The home is rock solid and contains the most beautiful oak woodwork and built-ins. Tonight’s photo is just one of its interior.  Because of its zoning, one has the opportunity to have an in-home business, where endless possibilities are waiting to get discovered and set into motion.